Warning on a bottle of drain cleaner: "If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product."
That warning is the first place winner of the 2004 Wacky Warning Label Contest. The Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, a group whose goal is to show that the fear of frivolous lawsuits has led to a loss of corporate common sense, sponsors the annual contest for the wackiest warning labels.
"Wacky warning labels are a sign of our lawsuit-plagued times," Robert B. Dorigo Jones, president of the nonprofit Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch group, said in the news release announcing the contest winners. "It used to be that if someone spilled coffee in their lap, they simply called themselves clumsy. Today, too many people are calling themselves an attorney."
Second place: On a snow sled: "Beware: sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions."
Third place: On a 12-inch-high storage rack for compact discs: "Do not use as a ladder."
Fourth place: A 5-inch fishing lure with three nasty steel hooks advises it is "Harmful if swallowed." Too bad fish can't read!
Previous winners in the "Wacky Warning Label Contest" are presented here for your amusement and amazement:
* A warning on an electric router made for carpenters cautions, "This product not intended for use as a dental drill."
* A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user: "Remove child before folding."
* A bottle of prescription sleeping pills says, "Warning: May cause drowsiness."
* A sticker on a toilet at a public facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan actually warns: "Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking."
* A CD player carries this unusual warning: "Do not use the Ultradisc2000 as a projectile in a catapult."
* An "Aim-n-Flame" fireplace lighter cautions, "Do not use near fire, flame, or sparks."
* A label on a hand-held massager advises consumers not to use "while sleeping or unconscious."
* A container of underarm deodorant says, "Caution: Do not spray in eyes."
* A cartridge for a laser printer warns, "Do not eat toner."
* A household iron warns users: "Never iron clothes while they are being worn."
* A label with a hair dryer reads, "Never use hair dryer while sleeping."
* A 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow warns: "Not intended for highway use."
* A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, "Do not drive with sunshield in place."
* A bathroom heater says: "This product is not to be used in bathrooms."
* A can of self-defense pepper spray warns users: "May irritate eyes."
* A warning on a pair of shin guards manufactured for bicyclists says: "Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover."
* A popular manufactured fireplace log warns: "Caution: Risk of Fire."
* A box of birthday cake candles says: "DO NOT use soft wax as ear plugs or for any other function that involves insertion into a body cavity."
* "Do not use snow blower on the roof."
* "Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher."